[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
“The Poisonous Path” bestows upon the listener a tenuous and deadly exhalation of demonic, demented black metal. Death metal rhythms are pounding against an atmospheric ritual pallor that binds the spirit to a devilish behaviorism. This is what the Finnish group Behexen has prepared for us to use as meditative support in 2016. Like an early cleaning worker, brushing the street dirt for the working masses to complete their procession towards another wasted day, the title song sets the uprising mood to receive the imposition for hearing this new opus with a clean heart. The music torments the ear with tingling appetizers, succumbing on “The Wand of Shadows” to an even more malicious, disquieting flow of sound. Here the plain devotion to evil is being shouted cynically through an elegiac aria of dramatic utterance, arranged on Ondskapt arabesques and Finnish compositional structures. Hell is the center of all evils, and it is here that everything is exhaustively intense, torment and adoration alike. On “Cave of the Dark Dreams”, as all torment seems to gather, the acoustics breathe a cataleptic nausea, the listener is marked by the vocalist’s execrations, whilst the dreadful black metal is tinged by fire-kindled Disection-like accords.
Behexen keeps up the spirit of primeval admonishing black metal. With “A Sword of Fire” they take you back to death-black metal demonomancy, yet unearthing new exorcism stratagems with their already individual patterns of riffing sumptuousness. What they preach does not only afflict the mind; their fury and mannered anger unchains the psyche by an almost cathartic torment of the senses. There are moments when you seem to take part in inappropriate prayers voiced out to unleash the Darkness once and for all, like “Umbra Luciferi”, this deep deposition: a neverending storm of darkness.
This high range of diversity Behexen displays within the black metal they interpret and the indubitable quality of their composition and technique, mame them fitting for the first class label Debemur Morti. Maybe for the bored ear, full of dust and clay, the sound evolves around wayward, seemingly known patterns. But Behexen cracks down such pub gossip malice by lukewarm chromatics that gratify the listener and raise their music to an apostolic relevancy within the luminous darkness the black metal genre has achieved for its humble devotees. From the sodo-mantic “Tyrant of Luminous Darkness” to the almost meditative “Chalice of Abysmal Waters”, a feverish accumulation of liquid memories from one’s failures into black arts boils up to the point of a soothing combustion.
More than experimental demeanor and the sometimes pedantic artifices within the extreme metal realm, perhaps what still keeps the interest alive is this smell of sulphurous brimstone that burns through the accords of Behexen and other groups. They are eclectic even in their traditional take on black metal, with a manner of composition that brings together Mayhem and Abigor, confrontational rawness and convoluting mannerism, as it can be found on “Pentagram of the Black Earth”; apart from that they always bring forth, like on “Gallows of Inversion”, those choking fumes of nausea-like melodicism, brought up to the status of arsenic artistry by them and The True Black Dawn.
They end this engulfing black metal practice with a physically enclosing liturgical song, “Rakkaudesta Saatanaan”. Their offering and disclosure of the Poisonous Path, besides being a profession of faith, it is a transmission of doctrines, the sonic manifestation of an empirical understanding of darkness.